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How to re-key a '69 Volkswagen Westfalia in San Francisco?
August 2, 2014 4:06 PM   Subscribe

We have a 1969 VW camper van. We love her. Unfortunately, the previous owners redid the locks horribly and now we have a problem: the back window hatch lock doesn't work, we don't have a key to it that works, and we can't fix it.

We've tried calling all the local VW body shops and specialists, but they just recommend calling locksmiths. No locksmiths are interested. We called one locksmith company (Fidelity) whose management told us they could do it, but their contractors are all being really unhelpful. The last one told us that he couldn't promise anything because our car is too old. We've found a company in Ventura that sells full VW door lock assemblies for several hundred dollars a pop, but… I'm not willing to pay that kind of money until I know that a simple lock repair isn't the wiser solution.

Are there any locksmiths or lock repair types in the Bay Area that can actually look at a lock before writing it off? This wasn't an issue when we had access to a garage, but we don't any longer. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (8 answers total)
 
There may be a code on the lock itself that can be used to make a new key. This is a related question from AskMeFi, while looking into that I found this thread on another site that proved helpful to the other OP. Though it is not San Francisco, the people at Larry'z Auto in Sacramento have been good to me so you could call them and see what they have to say.
posted by sacrifix at 4:13 PM on August 2


Call an automotive repair shop that works on classic VWs and see if they can recommend a locksmith who is willing to work on older cars.
posted by amaire at 4:36 PM on August 2


Have you talked to Buslab in Berkeley? (The Berkeley locksmith answer is always to try Rex. But really I have no even anecdotal experience with them and cars, so who knows. Could be worth a call in any case.)
posted by hoyland at 4:41 PM on August 2


Trudee at Key Kraft is a pal of mine, and I know she's done stuff like this for motorcycles before. It'd be worth giving her a call, certainly.
posted by mollymayhem at 6:12 PM on August 2


http://www.thesamba.com/vw/
posted by buzzman at 9:32 PM on August 2


I can also recommend Key Kraft She's been very helpful at fixing locks on my motorcycle and has a storefront (on Church Street in SF) so she should be able to take a look at it without having to arrange for a housecall.
posted by zombiedance at 3:30 PM on August 4


Excellent advice, all--we're very grateful!

amaire, as I mentioned above, we tried that approach unsuccessfully.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:52 PM on August 5


Thank you mollymahem and zombiedance for the Key Kraft recommendation! Over the phone, almost no one else was willing to take on this project either out of a lack of time, interest, or know-how. One company gave us a terrible runaround last week, going so far as to schedule us an appointment with a contractor of theirs who never showed up to the appointment, even after we called him and the company multiple times over the course of two days.

Key Kraft folks told us to come right over and on the spot said that they could do it the day after tomorrow and it'd only take an hour or two tops.

Thank you all so much!
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 12:13 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


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